More than ten years on Effexor XR. A gradual yet shocking decrease in my memory: word retrieval, short term memory, sense of ‘fuzziness’ about events in recent past. Additionally, an acute sense of congitive degeneration. In my case, I found involvement in physical training program involving balance, dexterity, agility and coordination, coupled with Iyengar Yoga and meditation successfully alleviated a great deal of this fugue .. at first.
My hope initially was that since I had never been someone who exercised, this focus on the physical might result in the creation of a parallel neural nework which could function in lieu of my damaged prefrontal cortex. Actually replace the defective (as I saw it) right brain dominance.
Noticed after a few months that I was returning from exercise and from cranial sacral work totally exhausted. (The cranial sacral therapist would say “Ok, now I’ve got all your neurotransmittors stablilized.) My theory was that the medication (300 Effexor XR and Wellbutrin 50 was interfering with the process of creating natural endorphins, possibly even establishing the very beginnings of new neural networks. I started cutting back on the meds; totally off the Wellbutrin and got down to 37.5 of Effexor XR until an injury necessitated me stopping my exercise program for a few months. Not shortly thereafter, the depression returned en force. Currently, I am back on 150 Effexor (after a 9 day stint on Pristiq which resulted in major Effexor Withdrawal Syndrome. Currently, Im in the process of reaclimating to Effexor: heartburn, shortness of breath, free floating anxiety, even some of those horrid suicidal ideations. All helped today by 2 mg of Ativan.
After years of talking with my psychiatrist about my memory loss, problems with word retrieval, feeling as if I was in a fog, inability to sustain a job (or a relationship) increased isolating, I was almost convinced this deterioration was an effect of the aging brain. Until I came across this discussion board last week: About: Effexor and Memory Loss, with over 100 comments from Effexor users complaining of the same thing. Some claim their cognitive functioning improved after discontinuing the medication, but others had seen no return to normal.
A note from Wikipedia: In a study of the tolerability of venlafaxine at a dose range 75 to 600 mg per day for treating DSM-IV major depressive disorder “failing memory” was reported at all doses in 44.4% of cases. The severity of venlafaxine-induced memory loss was also noted to increase with dose and length of treatment. As memory loss may have a significant impact on the patient’s ability to function in his community or place of work, this adverse effect should be an important consideration when prescribing venlafaxine in an out-patient setting and suggests that venlafaxine is most suitable for the treatment of in-patients.
source: ^ Harrison CL, Ferrier N, Young AH (June 2004). “Tolerability of high-dose venlafaxine in depressed patients”. J. Psychopharmacol. (Oxford) 18 (2): 200–4. doi:10.1177/0269881104042621. PMID 15260908.
But there are other questions I have for Individuals on ADs.
- did you start smoking again
- have you gained weight
- have you become more isolated, less motivated
- do you have difficulty holding on to a job
- do you have difficulty handling routine jobs, keeping up with mail, keeping house clean and orderly, getting car serviced on time
- have you lost contact with family and friends since you started on the drug
- has the quality of your life improved
- what have been your experiences in attempting to come off Effexor XR?
Wyeth continues to downplay the presence of brain zaps in the discontinuation syndrome.
Along with the online discussion forums, check out Youtube for personal video stories.
A Youtube of withdrawing from Effexor. 7 days on 37.5; take every 2nd day. Make it whole next day the day after that is when he would feel the withdrawal.
A youtube about depression
Memory loss linked to antidepressents, especially Effexor XR